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If you are poor, Do not apply

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  • If you are poor, Do not apply

    It appears at least here locally that if you are a poor fire department, than applying for the FEMA Grant is your waste of time. So far locally, every department that has won a grant, paid for a grant writer. Nice if you have the bucks, but what about the department who lives on less than $20,000.00 a year. My department lives on $13,750.00 a year and surely could not fund a grant writer. So as with all great federal funded items.. the rich and big win, while the poor and a small are left to fend for themselves.
    FEMA became suddenly a english professor, demanding perfect sentence structure and grammer, instead of looking for who needs and who does not. Now they can't even get the Dear John letters out, so that the needy can go on with their lives. To bad the carrot has become a Golden APPLE..

  • #2
    1) It's way too early to complain about not getting a grant this year - unless you received a Dear John letter from FEMA.

    2) I know of a department with an annual budget of 20,000 and no grant writer involved. They received a grant last year.

    3) Applying for "free" money is never a waste of time.

    4) If you still feel it's a waste, don't apply anymore, it raises the chances for the rest of us to be funded.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


    • #3
      I agree with oxbow. My dept. has been applying for a new brush truck for three years now. Our operating budget is $ 27,500.00 a year. I researched the past grant recipients that have recieved grant's and found 90% of them have 7 and 8 or more rigs and two stations that some of us would give anything to have just one of them. Us little dept's always have and always will get crapped on. It will never change. My goodness, you wouldn't want a nice new rig in with our old ones would you.
      The Chief


      • #4
        Here we go again!

        Once again we start to get the annual "I got turned down so the program is rigged" gripes.

        It doesn't matter if your company is rich or poor. FEMA bases the grants on how well the grant application is written. Being poor shouldn't mean you can't write.

        FEMA also looks at whether you can pay your 10% share of the grant. If you're asking for $300,000 for a truck do you have the $30,000 you need? If your application said nothing but "we're poor and we need the money" what else can they think but you don't meet the program qualifications.

        My company lives on an annual borough allotment of $75,000 plus what we make in fund raisers. Are we a rich or a poor company? We received grants the first two years and luckily we had the 10% saved.

        Also, don't rely solely on the FEMA grants. Look for other programs on your state and local level. Many of them don't require any matching funds. It also never hurts to attend a grant writing class. Rather than spend your money every year for a grant writer you only have to spend it once and reap the rewards annually.

        As Bones said, applying for free money is never a waste of time.

        Good luck.
        Steve Dragon
        FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
        Volunteers are never "off duty".


        • #5
          Oxbow, we all get frustrated when we get the shaft, but I'll point out to you that:

          1. If you haven't gotten a Dear John letter, you are still in the running. Awards will be given out for much of the rest of the year.

          2. Being poor is not the only criterion. If the program were only to relieve poverty, they would just have you send in your annual budget amount and then start writing checks.

          3. I wrote one grant each of the first two years, then three this year (for three different FD's). I got turned down flat those first two years, but this week two of this year's have gotten the six questions and one has also gotten the 1199a. The moral of the story: PERSISTENCE.

          4. If nobody in your FD can write grants well, ask people in other departments if they have somebody. That's why I ended up writing three this year. Don't forget other entities that might be able to write for you; some will do it free of charge. These include the Cooperative Extension Service, area development districts, economic development authorities, county/city/township/village government, and many others.

          5. FEMA did training sessions throughout the country. I went to one and I credit it with my success this year. Next year, GO.

          6. I took a grantwriting training from the Grantsmanship Center. It helped, too. They cost some money, but good grief, at even $400, you could raise enough at a car wash to cover it. Isn't it worth $400 to get $70K or $100K?

          7. Once again, see #1.

          8. The program is competitive; there are no guarantees.

          9. As long as you have this whiny attitude, you may not be able to keep it out of your writing and it will hurt you.
          “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
          ― Hunter S. Thompson


          • #6
            Oxbow, I'll agree with you that sometimes there doesn't appear to be any method to the madness. Like you, I know of departments truly in need that were denied last year and departments with tremendous funding that got awarded. I gave up trying to figure it out.

            Having said that, unless you've received the dreaded Dear John letter, it is WAY too early to count yourselves out this year. The program is funded to the tune of about $700 million and as of 8/1, only $100 million had been awarded. There's a ton of money left to go around.

            As far as the professional grant writer goes, we wrote our own app the first year with some help from a professional writer. Request Denied.

            Last year we figured we would get smart and use a professional writer who had been successful with other area departments. Request Denied.

            This year, we did it entirely on our own with very little input from outside sources. Got our 1199a link yesterday. Go figure.

            So what if it is somewhat like checking your lottery numbers, like Bones said, its free to play!


            • #7
              Also, if you do need a grant writer, you can add that to the "administrative" fees. FEMA knows and understands that some departments use professional grant writers and will incorporate the grant writer fees into the overall grant request.
              Brad L. Meyer, FF/EMT-P, MHA
              [email protected]


              • #8
                How poor are you?

                Were so poor that we have to borrow a farmers goats to pull the water wagon.

                Hopefully just a little humor to get us all thru the wait.


                • #9
                  What you've failed to realize is these awards are need based. Not financial need based, but equipment need based. If your budget is $10000 per year and you run 1 call a month and ask for a $75000 brush rig then your going to be denied. Justify spending $75,000 on a brush rig that's going to be used once a year. Now if you asked for money for training (all types) that can be used for all 12 of your calls then you see your need increases and your chances of getting an award improve. It's no different then a department that has no building over 1 story in there bedroom community district asking for a 175' Bronto sky lift.

                  Think about it and make sure your priorities are in order.

                  Stay safe.


                  • #10
                    Reply to Oxbow from Peer Review Panelist

                    Having been a peer review panelist, I can say without fear of contradiction that the use of a grant writer did neither guarantee you a higher score, nor hurt you if you did. Each application was judged on the merits of the application and was not held against any standard of proper English language.

                    However, grants that were well written often showed a desire by the applicant to spend time in researching and evaluating the needs of their department and the community. This often meant that they likely spent time with rough drafts, several revisions and proof reading before the application was sent. A professional grant writer should do this as part of their job.

                    A well written application was easier to read but I can tell you from first hand experience that we looked past poor grammar, syntax, spelling errors, etc to look at the heart of the application. One of the most poorly written grants I reviewed was given one of the highest scores in our panel. They wrote a well written application despite the lack of ability to spell, etc.

                    Hiring a grant writer made no guarantees that the application was going to be judged any differently. I have made many other postings about this subject because people seem to try and look for a reason that they can blame some other party for their apparent shortcomings in the narrative section of the application. Write the narrative and toss it over to a teacher at the local high school and ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

                    Lastly, don’t you dare blame the process. I have never been so proud to be a part of an operation as I was during the week that I spent on the peer review panel. I was among many whom gave up our family, jobs and lives for a week to sit in review and help distribute money to departments who showed a need and met the objectives of the grant. This entire project is so well organized that I would be at a loss to offer any suggestions as to how to make it better.


                    • #11
                      Folks WHY

                      I never can understand why people gripe about having the possibly to get FREE money so why gripe just becuase you don't get it doesn't mean you gripe about it and don't ever put it in for it again..... We have applied since the whole thing started and we was 0 for 2 and we have applied this year for a 197,000 dollar 2004 pumper... Our yearly operating money is like 25,000 dollars a year from Fire Dues and Fund Raisers that we do thru out the year.... This year we have just had to raise our fire dues from 35.00 a year to 40.00 a year just becuase we have a hard time working on that small amount of money.... Our fire department covers 115 sq mi protecting around 5,000 citizens... Here is our truck list

                      Rescue - 1993 Ford F350 XLT 4X4
                      Brush - 1986 Dodge 4X4
                      Engine 1 - 1975 Ford 1000 Gallons - Will Not Pass Pump Test
                      Engine 2 - 1971 Ford Pierce - 500 Gallons - Open Cab <---- Not NFPA Compliant ----> Will Pass Pump Test
                      Tanker 1 - 2003 Freightliner FL 80 2600 Gallon

                      The story behind the tanker is thru Grants.... We asked for a 15,000 no interest loan thru USDA and they awarded us with a 30,000 grant.. BTW we generously accepted.... lol... The tanker costed 93,000 and some change to buy... 93 - 30 = 63,000 we still owe... State of Kentucky gives fire departments 8,250 dollars for state aid every year... We are taking that money to pay for our tanker for 12 years payment on it....

                      Let me recommend this to you ok... There are MANY OTHER GRANTS available other than FEMA to apply for... Our Fire Department has already applied for 5 grants and successful on 2 so far and possibly 3 because we have receieved for 1199A Form Link on FEMA.... Get with your local Emergency Managment Director, County Judge Executive, Mayor, Magistrates and pretty much any political person there is in your county and talk to them about your situtation and ask them if they could either help out OR let them give you ideas on where to get money to improve your fire department.... Yes it can be frustrating to be waiting and waiting for that

                      Hopefully we are successful at the FEMA grant which I hope we are and I hope you are also... Justify your narrative on your NEED not your WANT.... And be realistic if you make 2 fire runs a month don't ask for a new pumper thats pointless ASK FOR SOMETHING YOU NEED not just to have something nice to hvae in your local parade that will just sit there and not get used Sucking up to the panelist will only lower your score. Our fire department makes around 165 - 170 runs a year... With a gradual increase in runs every year becuase of people moving into our area...

                      Don't count your chickens before they hatch if you haven't received the dear john letter then GUESS WHAT YOUR STILL IN THE RUNNING!!! There is 750 million to be awarded and only 184 million has been awarded... Just check your status page everyday and maybe you will be surprised to see that magical 1199A link....

                      I'm not trying to bash you or anyone but I think as adults in this forum each and everyone needs to be more mature and not try to bash this program as it has helped many many departments further theirselves to protect property and lives.... Be Happy for the other departments that did get it and surely your time is coming sometime or another.....

                      In Conclusion,

                      KEEP PRAYING lol

                      John Betner
                      Custer Area Fire & Rescue Department


                      • #12
                        We have a neighboring department that decided that applying was a waste of time...and they WON 62K last year. How do you spell stupid?

                        The little guy can't win? We just hit for the second year in a row.
                        Budget around 25K, pop 1,800, less than 100 runs per year including EMS, a 1954 first out pumper, and I wrote them.

                        There have been many here that have told you how to do it but you whiners won't listen. Don't make a Christmas list, be realistic, be concise and play by the rules. But you still don't listen.

                        I've seen awards of 5 and 6 thousand dollars go to small depts. that
                        couldn't come up with a bigger match.

                        Do us all a favor and DO NOT APPLY next year. Ten cents on the dollar money for a few hours of my time at the keyboard. I'll waste my time any day.

                        Don Cheek, Asst. Chief
                        Lakeview Heights FPD


                        • #13
                          $72,873.00 this year - wrote it myself


                          • #14
                            $40,140 for our FD. Annual budget of only 22k and I wrote it myself and I'm for sure no grant writer... Reading the rules correctly and accurately will give anyone a real chance of recieving the grant.
                            WPFD E1 - A squirrel's worst nightmare


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